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Monday, July 31, 2017

Guest Post with Author Laura Trentham and Giveaway

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

What’s in a Name (and a Cover)?

I’m going to tackle a question I get quite a bit and a misconception that I certainly had to break after I got a publishing deal. It’s about covers and titles. And more, specifically, how are they picked and who picks them.

I’ll never forget a review I received where the person loved the book and would have given it five stars except…the male cover model’s biceps weren’t as buff as the description I’d given of the hero’s arms. She gave the book four stars. All I could do was laugh and shake my head.

For traditionally published authors, the input that the author has over the cover can vary. Sometimes it’s very limited. First of all, not all authors (not even most authors!) get a photo shoot for their cover. My publisher, St. Martin’s Press, doesn’t generally do cover shoots while a publisher like Avon, does covers shoots for their books quite frequently, especially for their historical covers. This means that my covers are pieced together from various stock photos. And they aren’t bought for exclusive use, so I’ve seen the couple from my first book, SLOW AND STEADY RUSH, on several other covers. That’s always a bit startling.

My editor asks for a character description for the hero and heroine (things like hair color, height, facial hair, etc) and any landmarks or interesting locations. For my Cottonbloom series, a river divides the town and is featured on the first four covers, LEAVE THE NIGHT ON included. For the next book, WHEN THE STARS COME OUT, the background is a barn since the brothers live in the converted loft of a barn. (It’s also my favorite cover to this point. I just ordered a phone case with it on the back!)

I’m always filled with excited, nervous butterflies when my editor sends me the cover mock-up because I don’t see any of the stock photos they chose beforehand. Lucky for me, I’ve loved all my Cottonbloom covers. But I’ve known authors who don’t like their covers, ask for a change, and are overruled by the house, so the cover stands.

On to titles, which are my nemesis. Up until this 3-book story arc, I’ve never had a working title or a title I’ve suggested chosen for a book. This is not at all unusual. Many factors influence what is chosen. Are there already other books with the same title? Is it snappy or memorable? The publishing house’s marketing arm has a big say.

My editor suggested LEAVE THE NIGHT ON for the first book in the new trilogy arc of my Cottonbloom series. It’s from a Sam Hunt song of the same name. I loved it because it’s a great title plus I’m slightly obsessed with Sam Hunt (such a cutie with a great voice!) We talked about pulling other song titles of his for the titles of the next two books (Take Your Time and Make Me Miss You), but I wasn’t in love with either of those.

I scoured country song titles and came across a Jason Aldean song called, When the Lights Come On. I twisted it a little and came up with WHEN THE STARS COME OUT. The next book is called SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE which is a twisted version of a Kenny Chesney song, Set the World On Fire. We went with a night theme for all three books, which is mirrored on the covers.

While there can be collaborative effort with the author behind titles and covers, many times the author has zero say over either. So don’t judge an author too harshly if the couple featured on the cover doesn’t match the description in the book. I feel lucky that I’ve loved my covers!

What are some of your favorite covers?

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge--life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiance's classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton's whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton's shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage--and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she's got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Check out the Cottonbloom series:
Kiss Me That Way (Cottonbloom, #1) Then He Kissed Me (Cottonbloom, #2) Till I Kissed You (Cottonbloom, #3)
Candy Cane Christmas (Cottonbloom #3.5) Light Up the Night (Cottonbloom #3.75) When the Stars Come Out (Cottonbloom, #5)

Sutton's hand found Wyatt's like a magnet finding its mate, and she knitted their fingers together. Music drifted through the trees.

“You know how to two-step?” Wyatt asked.

“No, but I learned how to waltz and foxtrot during cotillion, a lot of good that does me.”

Wyatt tugged her into a faster walk. “I’ll teach you.

“No way. Not in front of everyone. I’ll look like an idiot.” She pulled at his arm, but inertia was on his side.

“That’s your fear talking. Come on and take a chance on me.”

Even though he was talking about something as simple as a dance, the moment felt like a tipping point. Fearful or brave? Which did she choose?

She quit fighting and let him lead her into the circle of light. A handful of couples danced, but a majority of the partiers hung around the edges talking and watching. Before her feet could mount a rebellion and retreat, Wyatt spun her around and put a firm hand on her upper back, holding her other hand in a typical dance hold.

“The two-step is simple. Four steps, two quick, two slow. I step forward on my left, and you step back on your right. Okay?”

She made an affirmative sounding hum and tried to assimilate what he was saying, but heat streaked across her back where his hand branded her. All the eyes fixed on them didn’t help her concentration.

He counted them off, and she made it two steps before screwing up. She bit the inside of her cheek. “I can’t do it.”

“You’re acting like this is worse than a firing squad. What are you thinking about?”


He gave a slight shake of his head before bursting out in chesty laughter that sent vibrations through his hold to her. “Dare I ask why?”

“I feel like we’re being examined like reproducing amoebas through a microscope.”

“If I recall my high school biology, amoebas are asexual. I’m not. Forget about everyone else and look at me.”

She focused on his face. The flickering fire set gold sparking in his gray eyes, and since he’d invited her to, she let her gaze linger on all his features, but especially his mouth. His lips were mouthing “quick-quick-slow-slow,” and she dabbed her bottom lip with her tongue, remembering what they’d felt like against hers.

“You’re dancing.” His sweet, sexy lips turned up in a smile.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Signed copies of the Cottonbloom series + bookmarks, bath bombs, scented soaps, and a beach ready bag

To Enter:
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck!

Special thanks to Laura Trentham & Tasty Book Tours for sponsoring this tour-wide giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Would love to read this series. I love the excerpt. It's going on my TRL. Thank you for the chance to win. If it's an auto buy Author for me the cover doesn't really matter. It's the book's content I'm going for, not cover.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  3. Thank you for featuring Laura today!

  4. This book sounds sooooo good!! I would never write a review based on the cover - only on the content.